This blog recounts my fitness journey into the sport of triathlon and the gifts God has blessed me with while on it! May the movements of my life boldly proclaim that the sparks we encounter in scripture will kindle hope in our lives!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The 5k

 My girls and I celebrating my birthday at Benihana. I weighed about 220lbs.

April gave way to May and around the same time I celebrated my 36th birthday I gave myself an ipod and I took my running outside!  It was an interesting new challenge.  I don’t think a day went by for a long time without thinking, as I stepped outside, “I can’t believe I’m doing this, is this really me?  Who am I?  Has this always been here or is this new? Hey! I’m a runner!!”

During June, I continued to pray and praise and thank God that I was healthy enough to be enjoying this new adventure.

I began to read Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs. God dropped it in my lap at just the right time. I don’t remember what moved me to purchase that exact book, but I remember seeking it our specifically. I read the first half of the book in one day!

Chantal’s philosophy about “brain change” was instrumental in the next part of my journey - conquering my attitudes about food. The key piece of wisdom she offered was to concentrate on getting good nutrition/fuel into your body first. I didn’t worry about eliminating anything from my diet right away, but I did begin to prioritize getting everything that my body needed before I ate the stuff I didn’t!!

I would tell myself, “Jesaca, you can eat cookies AFTER you finish your salad!” And I did!

I wasn’t losing any more weight, but I wasn’t gaining. I prioritized getting my rest too. That was also a key to turning the corner toward success. I would drop anything I was doing at 9pm and go to bed.

Sometime during June I remember praying about the whole “being a strong woman” thing. Seriously, people tell me that all the time. “You’re so strong and confident! I could never do the things you do. Jesaca, you’re so inspiring!”, they say. It’s difficult for me to see what others see. I had run a practice 5k with Jennifer and was really excited about it. “O.k., God,” I told Him. “I’m having a moment when I really believe what everyone tells me. What you tell me in your Word. You’ve created me to be a strong woman and I’m going to embrace and accept that.”  The Holy Spirit pressed on me immediately. “My child, I want you to be stronger!” Well. Hmmmm. “God you’re going to have to show me what that looks like!”

Well, He began to show me.

In July I ran that 5k with Jennifer! I made my goal to do it in less than 45 minutes. I wasn’t last either! I had already been contemplating what I needed to focus on after that 5k was done. I didn’t want to lose my momentum.

July turned to August and I got serious during my prayer time. “What am I going to do, God, to keep going, to get stronger?” God asked me, “If you could do anything, anything at all, nothing to hold you back, what would you choose to do?” 

Out it came from a blossoming, courageous place, the daring, adventurous answer of my heart. “A triathlon, I really want to do a triathlon!”

And God said, “Yes.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Focus...The Journey Continues

Some time in February, I visited Dr. Spencer and discovered that my thyroid was low and we began working to get it within the normal range.

The cleanse had ended and I still wasn’t always eating the best, but better than I did before. However, as the hustle and bustle of the spring began I found myself distracted and anxious. This had happened before (and it would happen again…). Whenever I began to drop weight beyond the 20 pound mark it seemed to become a problem. I began eating everything in sight. It didn’t even taste good! Graham crackers with frosting, stale chips, crackers, cold leftovers and I couldn’t stop. I determinedly continued to get on the treadmill.

February gave way to March.

One day after I had eaten myself sick, I was so desperate for answers I called my dad. Yes, that kind of desperate! After asking him to “put on his compassionate hat”, (my dad needs to be reminded of this sometimes!) Through my sobs, I explained my problem and asked for some insight. My dad knew me and loved me. Maybe he understood why I did this to myself. His advice to me was that I should put some things in place to help me maintain my focus on what it is that I want. In this case that was to be well and fit. After speaking to him I continued to pray that God would help me get a handle on this area of my life, that He would equip me with the knowledge I needed to achieve my goal.

By now I was running for at least 20 minutes a day.

Well, isn’t it interesting that about the beginning of April my friend Jennifer discovered that I had started running? She was almost giddy with excitement! Jennifer was training for a half-marathon and began lobbying for me to do a 5k with her. I wasn’t sure. That meant people would SEE me run. I didn’t know if I could do that. It’s one thing to enjoy my endeavors at home, quite another to have others witness them!

I thought about it for around a month and after remembering the conversation with my dad I decided to do it.

Focus. Hopefully training for that 5k would grant me some.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In the BIGinning...

Two years ago I was the heaviest I'd ever been. A whopping 248 pounds and I felt miserable! I wasn't fully living, I was existing. Sure, I did fun stuff. I socialized. I had activities I was involved in. But there was plenty that I dreamed of doing and I was not doing it at 248 pounds.

I considered sending in a tape to The Biggest Loser..."Jesaca, you have an awesome story. They'd totally take you!", said my closest friend. But, who would I ask to take my girls? Could I do that to them? We had only just begun to settle into our life after losing their dad two and a half years previous. I didn't want to put them through another transition.

But, I knew something had to change...

This journey toward fitness, wholeness really, restoration, began with a sniffle. I was sick. Then I became sicker. One trip to Urgent Care, two prescriptions, a trip to Disney, a chest x-ray and almost five weeks went by and I was still sick. After another visit to the doctor I was given a third prescription and told if I wasn’t better after this course of meds I could expect to have a sinus scan.

I knew what that meant and I wasn’t thrilled about anyone going at my sinuses with a scalpel.

Not to mention the nose packing afterwards that would have me looking like a cat for several days! No way.

I headed home from the appointment without bothering to fill the prescription. I knew why I felt so miserable. I didn’t take care of myself. My diet had been crappy. Exercise that involved any effort was non-existent. The body just doesn’t accept the excuse of being a tired, overwhelmed single mom that finds it much easier to order pizza or pop in chicken nuggets or corn dogs with a frozen veggie than creating a healthy meal for myself and my girls. I had run myself ragged and didn’t get enough rest, keeping busy and trying to escape the reality that my life is my life and will continue to be not exactly what I planned. It was time to get real and stop lying to myself.

So, I started consuming massive quantities of garlic. Yes, RAW. Every day.

After about a week, I was feeling much better! However, I was still dragging around and couldn’t seem to get any energy. It was time for a visit to Dr. Joe.
I was ready to do a cleanse.

By now it was the end of November and Dr. Joe wouldn’t let me do a cleanse! Not until after Christmas he told me.

So, I began to prepare mentally and emotionally. I’d done one before and I knew what it would take to come through it successfully. I organized my schedule around those 21 days. I canceled any plans with friends that might interfere…dinner dates especially. I knew what would be required of my willpower.

Supplements, protein shakes and raw fruits and vegetables for 21 days. I knew I could expect to feel awful for 2 or 3 of the first four days. Sure enough, achy body and headache assaulted full force. But by day 4 I was feeling like a new woman!

I wanted to be sure to pump all of the toxic garbage out of my system and committed myself to walking on the treadmill 3 or 4 times a week to get my lymphatic system moving.

At some point during that 3 week cleanse a strange thought popped into my head. I found myself wondering, “Could I run?”. That day I ran for 2 minutes.


From that moment I began to push my running time up by adding a little bit more each week. I finished the cleanse feeling wonderful and dropped weight by 24 pounds and my cholesterol by 55 points. I decided to continue walking/running 2-3 times a week. I was determined to hang on to this new discipline in my life.

I was running-who ’da thought!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Even When I Run

So, I love to run.

Someone asked me the other day, “What is it that you love about running?”

Wow. I haven’t tried to put it into words before.

I haven’t always been a runner. I only started running about 2 years ago.
Some things about my life had to change and starting to run was part of that.

Walk for 10 minutes, run for 2 minutes….do it again. That’s how it started one cold, winter day on a treadmill, indoors.

I kept at it on my treadmill; two to three mornings a week. I started to lose some weight. I felt better overall. The weather warmed up and I took a run outside. I remember thinking to myself, “Is this really me? Am I doing this? I’m a runner!”

I often used my running time to pray, praise and worship. I’d dialog with the Lord about how I was doing, messes I’d made or ways I’d seen Him working in my life. I really connect with Him in a powerful way when I moving my body. He’s been walking me through a time of discovery these last few years about how He has designed me. He’s helping me see and embrace my unique role in the Epic adventure of life here on Earth. For a while now, people I encounter will tell me what a strong person I am. I haven’t known what to do with that, but have been working on gaining a better understanding about who I am and how God views me and what kind of plan He has for my life.

God has used the last 2 years to lead me on a journey inside myself.

I now also weight train. I learned how to swim and now I train for triathlons. I’ve completed 4! I’ve sorted through some painful emotional stuff as I’ve shed more than 70 pounds now. I’ve had a few of those “Biggest Loser” moments, crying during the workout (I kept looking for the cameras!), during the run and once during a swim.

So, back to the question. What is it I love about running?

Every time I run I’m in that moment where I began to change my life. The moment before I ever stepped onto the treadmill! I’m making the choice to step into what God’s already granted me. I own it. Anything is possible there. For however many miles I’m the truest, freest me I can be. The woman God created me to be. I can feel the strength and drive and beauty He’s crafted within me. Sometimes, I can bring that woman right out of the run with me and we can face the challenges of life standing squarely in God’s strength and grace. Even when God and I have been wrestling about big life stuff, He meets me there.

We run together. And no matter how I may try to escape or hide sometimes, He captures me in His love. Even when I run….